Whew!!! Just coming down from the super fun times that NessAlla had last week!! What a way to wrap up the month of February!! We kicked off the first official Madison Cocktail Week with a huge 50th birthday bash for one of Madison’s favorites- Genna’s Cocktail Lounge. Folks flocked in from miles away and nearby to celebrate the long success of Genna’s. A Service Industry Happy Hour sponsored by NessAlla and William Grant & Sons featured guest Rock Star bartenders Grant Hurless from Death’s Door Spirits, and Jeremy Bazely of Three Count Beverage. I joined in on the craft cocktailery and did some shaking and muddling and together the three of us crafted three awesome NessAlla kombucha cocktails featuring Tullamore Dew Whiskey, Montelobos Mezcal and Reyka Vodka mixed with fresh juices, handmade bitters and simple syrups. Revelers sipped on cocktails called “Kristi Tickles Me Pink”, “In A Pickle, Genna’s Will Do” and the “Post University Avenue Cosmo”. Stories of the 50 years of Genna’s were shared and thanks to the awesome party sounds by DJ Nick Nice dance floor got lots of action!! What an amazing, fun night!!
Madison, WI’s first official Cocktail Week kicked off on Wednesday February 25 – and four days of booze infused festivities followed. Many of our favorite cocktail lounges, bars, and restaurants participated in hosting cocktail competitions, classes, cocktail pairing dinners and celebrations of all things libation. NessAlla and Genna’s Cocktail Lounge hosted Thursday night’s “Highland Tiki” party featuring unconventional tiki cocktails made with spirits from Scotland’s Highlands – Pig’s Nose Scotch and Edinburgh Gin and NessAlla Kombucha. Mike McDonald (rock star bartender out of Milwaukee at Boone and Crockett and also one of my fave raves- the Palomino- and he is coincidentally the president of the Wisconsin chapter of USBG) created a simple syrup using our Oolong Kombucha (insert ooooh’s and aaaah’s here) and shook it with his housemade Mahalo bitters, lemon juice and Ediburgh Gin and a refreshing and delightful collins called the “Mahalo Bollocks” was enjoyed by many. (I had a few of those- they were pretty dang delish!!) Joey Houghtaling (hailing from Milwaukee’s Blackbird Bar) spiked NessAlla Lemongrass Kombucha with a bitters triumverate, fresh juices and Edinburgh Gin and called it the “Scottish Beach Bunny”. This cocktail is so flavorful that when he ran out of gin to mix in he switched to using the Pig’s Nose Scotch and it was even more decadent. Samuel Gauthier (former Madison mixologist, craft cocktail awards winner who is now doing his thing at Boilermaker in NYC) whipped together a little number called a “Scotch Zombie Collins”- Pig’s Nose Scotch, Falernum, a cinnamon gomme syrup and finished with our Raspberry Kombucha. Whew- more delicious things to drink. It was an extreme honor to host this party with these gentlemen and partyin’ is what we did!! I can’t wait until next year’s Madison Cocktail Week!! (check out the MCW website for more information about this year’s events and to keep tabs on next years events too http://www.madisoncocktailweek.com/).
As if that wasn’t enough fun for one week- we kept the NessAlla Kombucha cocktail party rollin’ and brought it to Madison’s Edgewater Hotel for the 7th annual Distill America- A celebration of American Distilling. Over 60 American distillers came together to sample out their wares. Ryes, Bourbons, Scotches, Gins, Vodkas, Brandies, Rums- all walks of the spirits worlds were represented. A $65 ticket gets you into the room to taste these treats and meet the Distillers. So- I’m a bartender of nearly 20 years, and I have made many, many, many cocktails and used many spirits over the years- events like these leave me swoony. Swooooooony. I got to hug, high five, share stories and swap booch some of my favorite distillers in this country. The boys from Letherbee out of Chicago- I would’ve put in my pocket if I could have- those guys make AMAZING things!! In addition to the distillers- some of my favorite booze slinging colleagues were doing their things. Thor from Merchant was mixing up High West Old Fashioneds on his trolley bar and the Three Count Beverage boys payed homage to a great Wisconsin pastime called the booze luge. Yep we were drinking shots of Death’s Door Wondermint through an icy cold booze luge. Of course, I was also working…. working the room full of funlovers wearing a sassy 1920’s era cigarette girl style tray full of NessAlla Kombucha “Cupid’s Bow” cocktails. “Cupid’s Bow” is a seductive little libation made with Hyman’s Sloe Gin, Death’s Door Gin, Quince and Apple Rasperry Rose Preserves and our Oolong Kombucha- tres chic! Patrick- our slayer of all this NessAlla got some amazing pics and together he and I met and reconnected with NessAlla fans- it was a total blast!!!
Yep- (sighs lovingly) that was quite the week, and I can’t wait until next year’s festivities!!! Hopefully we’ll see y’all there!! Oh hey- if you want recipes for the aforementioned cocktails go over to our Kombucha Cocktail section and get a grip on them. I’ll have them up by the end of today- I gotta rush off to a meeting with Ness and Alla and fill them in on upcoming shenanigans… and no worries- I’ll get that stuff to you guys too real soon!! Have a radical day and treat yourself to a kombucha cocktail- it’s 5 oclock somewhere!! Nazdarovya!!- Jeanette